The parochial grade school I attended in St. Louis didn’t have a library, so we relied on bookmobile visits every three weeks. I can still remember the rumble of the generator beneath my feet and that aged, bookmobile smell. It held an exciting promise – new books.
The Springfield-Greene County Libraries’ bookmobile is opening new worlds here, too – for more than 18,000 people last year. Most live in housing complexes and high rises, and can’t easily get to a library. Many of them are on first-name basis with the bookmobile staff, Sheri Casada and Rob Manning. Little kids even write them fan mail.
In recent years the bookmobile has required more mechanical repairs. At 20, the old gal needs work but her pace doesn’t allow much rest – 24 stops weekly in Springfield, Turners Station and Walnut Grove. That totaled 1,313 stops in fiscal 2009; patrons checked out an average of 6,921 items per month.
So it was exciting when the Friends of the Library recently voted to give the district $267,000 to buy a new bookmobile and revitalize the Ash Grove Branch Library. It’s a giant gift for the communities.
The Ash Grove project, which could be completed by late October, will give the Ash Grove community a fresh, attractive, updated library on Main Street. The new bookmobile, expected later this year, will provide more usable, modern space for books, movies and CDs, and a modern engine for reliable service.
“We felt like our money needed to go to something that the community could use right now,” said Friends President Sandy Perry. “The bookmobile seemed like the most logical place because it’s 20 years old, and it serves people who do not have access to the library any other way.”
We’re grateful to the 1,600 Friends members. But we also have the entire Springfield-Greene County community to thank.
You generously support the Friends’ spring and fall book sales by donating used books and materials throughout the year, then buying more at the sales. The 2010 Spring Book Sale, alone, netted more than $104,000.
It is the community’s dollars that help buy library books, computers, equipment and furnishings, fund youth reading programs and capital projects.
For bookmobile users and the Ash Grove community, these gifts come just in time.
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